A Modern Gideon and Mrs. Gideon
By Mrs. David L. Cooper
Again "They Weighed Anchor And Sailed" (Acts 27:13b)
WHILE IN PALESTINE IN 1937, Dr. Cooper felt definitely led of the Lord to organize a group of Bible students, ministers, and Bible teachers, when he should return home, and take them to Palestine so that they might make and intense study of the Word of God in the light of the land, and also see the building up of the colonies as well as the traditional sights. He worked out a postgraduate seminary course, and in February 1939 the Lord sent us forth again to Palestinethis time with a party of forty-six."... Your adversary, the devil ... whom withstand
Many problems had to be worked out in connection with this trip before it became a reality. Again the Lord wonderfully supplied clothes for me. This same friend who helped me with my clothes in 1937 came to the office unannounced one day and offered her assistance. It was on a special mailing day at our headquarters when we were not only wrapping and preparing the magazine for mailing, but were stuffing envelopes and preparing for mailing about 5,000 circular letters. There were twenty-eight volunteer helpers assisting our office staffsome stuffing envelopes, some segregating, and others sorting and tying letters and magazines in bundles according to cities and states. Some were seated at tables in the Society's offices downstairs, some in our living-room, and some on the porch upstairs. There was one table with workers in the laundry room, and one with workers under a large avocado tree in the back yard. We little wonder that the Lord allowed us to be shoved out into larger quarters.
As this friend was a stranger to the rest of the group, I placed her at a table on the porch where I was working and asked her to help stuff envelopes. After working a little while, she told me that she wanted to speak privately with me. I took her into my bedroom; and she said, "God did not send me here to do office work. I am a dressmaker, and He sent me here to get you ready for another trip to Palestine. Now let me look into your wardrobe and see what you need." When she looked into it, it was as bare as old Mother Hubbard's cupboard. She said, "You are not going to wear hand-me-down clothing on this trip as you did in 1937, but you are going to have all new things. I will have you all ready by the fifteenth of December, and you won't be leaving until the latter part of January." She took the few things that I had and made them over, bought new material and made new things, and purchased a jersey suit for traveling for me. By the fifteenth of December, she had completed my wardrobe for the trip. I was indeed humbled to my knees in thanksgiving to God.
When I consulted my doctor regarding this trip, he again said, "I say go; I think it would be the greatest thing in the world for you."
I said to the Lord, "Thank you! You have dampened my fleece again." We went to Palestine the second time knowing that we were in the center of God's directive will.
It was not only for Dr. Cooper and me that God undertook in making the trip possible. Many of those who went with us testified that God had opened the door for them in very unexpected ways. Among those in the group was a young minister, Rev. Dudley Girod. I had met him only once or twice and scarcely knew him, but for some reason the Lord laid him upon my heart. My prayer group and I were led to pray that he might be able to take the trip. He very much desired to go, but he did not have the money. We prayed earnestly, and so did he that the Lord would supply the funds for him. At times it seemed as though our prayers were beating against a stone wall, and yet the burden remained on my heart. Finally, a gift came from a lady which was enough for half of one person's fare. In her letter she said that she wanted the money to be used toward sending a young minister to Palestine with Dr. Cooper. We wrote her, giving the names of two or three young ministers. The name which she chose was that of Dudley Girod. Then another friend supplied the balance of his passage, stating that there was no one he would rather help than Dudley Girod.
Another young minister who wanted to go was also without funds. He received money for his passage the day before we left. I wish I had space and memory to tell of the gracious answers to prayer connected with almost everyone in the party.
steadfast in your faith ..." (I Peter 5:8,9)
After we started on the trip I set myself to stand behind the Palestinian party in prayer. On the first Tuesday on board ship I fasted and prayed for four hours. When I had finished praying, I was knocked bodily across the cabin, landing on the floor, and banging my head against the bed. I had taken the promise of Romans 8:28, and was writing out that passage, making the "G" for "God" when I was knocked across the cabin. The ship was the Conte de Savoie and had a gyroscope on it to keep it from lurching, and not a person in our party of forty-six felt a lurch. Gladiolias in a tall vase on the slick surface of the dresser did not slide or fall. Nothing moved in the cabin except me and the chair that I was sitting on. When I came to myself, lying on the floor, and noted that nothing had moved but me, I said, "Lord, this thing is of Satan; rebuke him, and I'll put this experience in Romans 8:28 and watch you bring the blessing." I came up with the victory."Behold, I have set before thee a door opened, which none can shut" (Rev. 3:8)
The following Thursday, I had a bad case of bronchitis. I do not remember ever having had bronchitis before and have not had it since. Though I had set myself to stand in prayer behind the party, Satan was determined to prevent me from praying. But I persisted and asked others to join me. Months after we returned to Los Angeles, an English lady by the name of Mrs. Lennox, who had been in our party, came to visit me one day and said, "Mrs., Cooper, you did not know it, but I was saved in your cabin while you prayed." She asked me then to pray again with her, and she prayed a beautiful prayer thanking the Lord for letting her see the truth while in our cabin. Later this dear soul went blind, but continued to give a joyous testimony of her salvation to those that were in the institution where she was placed.
It was by God's marvelous undertaking in answer to prayer that we were admitted into Palestine when we arrived. The Palestinian Government came very near refusing us entrance because of the tense political situation just prior to World War II. No other such party was permitted to remain there three months, as we did. Not only did God give us entrance into the land and gracious protection during our stay, but He continually answered prayer by solving the many difficult problems and by overcoming the satanic interference which would have hindered Dr. Cooper from accomplishing his purpose in conducting the Palestinian Biblical Institute. Our entire study and sightseeing tours while in the land were attended by a constant stream of prayer which God was pleased to answer. For instance, our co-worker, Mrs. M. G. Tate, and her prayer group in Memphis, Tennessee, fasted and prayed every Wednesday for the entire party while we were away. Praise God, the Palestinian Biblical Institute was enabled by His grace to accomplish the purpose for which it was organized. Praise His holy name!
Dr. Cooper felt that it was indeed a privilege to have the opportunity of helping to train such an interested group of young ministers and Bible teachers in God's Word. The prayer session began at 8:00 a.m. and the classes at 8:30 a.m. each day. The fourth book of the Messianic Series, Messiah: His First Coming Scheduled, was one of the textbooks used. Also studied were the five books of Moses, Judges, Kings, and Chronicles. The second period was from 10:30 to noon. In that class the Books of Isaiah, Daniel, and Zechariah were used as a basis of study. The third class began at 5:00 p.m. The Book of Revelation was taught in it. The last class of the day was held at 8:00 p.m. The four Gospels were studied then and a harmony made of them by each student. The entire course covered one hundred eight hours of postgraduate classroom seminary work. Some of the college students in the group, including our older daughter, received credit for this work from their colleges upon their return to America. Those of us who took the course felt that it was the greatest experience we had ever had, and the Bible became a new book to us. It was doubly interesting because the greater part of the work was done in the land where the Bible was written. Each day from noon until 5:00 p.m. the group went sight-seeing, visiting especially the places mentioned in the Scriptures. During our three months stay in the Holy Land, we spent about two weeks traveling over Palestine and Syria. During the time of travel we had only the 8:00 p.m. classes.
"When we were come to Jerusalem the brethren received us gladly" (Acts 21:17)
While we were in Jerusalem, the entire group was entertained at tea in the homes of two of the professors of the Hebrew University. One of these gave us a lecture in his home on Palestinian birds. He had previously spoken to our group on Biblical birds at a tea in the home of one of our dear friends the director of the Barclay Banks of the Near East. Later this professor lectured to all of us in his marvelous animal museum at the Hebrew University on Palestinian animals and fishes, and also on beetles, of which he had twelve large boxes filled with specimens of every known type of beetle in the Holy Land and Trans-Jordan. The other professor entertained our party at tea in his home and lectured to us on Biblical plants. At the University, in his plant museum, he spoke to all of us on Palestinian plants. The lectures of both of these professors were indeed exciting and very informative.
In the hall of the American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem Sir Flindres Petrie lectured to our party on archeological discoveries. Lady Petrie, who tabulated most of these discoveries, lectured twice to our group in the library of the Notre Dame de France Hotel.
Dr. Glick lectured to our group two or three times in this library also. He, too, was connected with the American School of Oriental Research, and his party had excavated at Elath (old Ezen Geber) on the seaport of Solomon. The lectures of these archaeologists were most interesting and very educational, and we deeply appreciated the time that they gave to our party.
We were glad to give Dr. Cooper's books to a number of these cultured, intellectual professors at their request. These books contain many quotations from God's Word. Since His Word shall not return unto Him void (Isa. 55:11), and since our Lord answers believing prayer, we expect to meet many of these learned men in glory. We were told later that at least one had confessed our Lord as Messiah after reading the books.
After much prayer, and through negotiations with the government officials, our party was permitted by the government to proceed from Jerusalem to the Carmel Miss Heim on lovely Mount Carmel, where the next session of the Palestinian Biblical Institute was held. As we wound our way up and down the mountain road through Haddar Carmel, passing beautiful white stone mansions on the slopes of Mount Carmel, we prayed many times for an entrance into the homes and hearts of these well-educated, high-class German Jews who had settled there. I wish I had space to tell of the many answers to prayer, but will relate only one incident. Our daughter Maurine (now Mrs. Merle N. Fuller) and one of the young men in the party walked one evening several blocks down the mountain side to take a cloth bound copy of Dr. Cooper's book, The Eternal God Revealing Himself to Suffering Israel and to Lost Humanity, for one of the ladies in the party, to a family with whom she had become acquainted, and who lived in one of these lovely homes. They did not find the family at home. It so happened, as they came away, that a man and his wife were going in. Upon being told that there was no one at home, the couple walked out with our daughter and her companion. The four of them stood for a few moments under a street light. The young man with our daughter was holding the book in such a way that the title The Eternal God Revealing Himself to Suffering Israel and to Lost Humanity, could be easily read under the bright light. The Jew, who was an attorney, reached over and took the book, stating that its title had intrigued him. He looked at it and then remarked, "I would very much like to read this book. May I borrow it? I know you intended it for our friends, but please let me have it first." The young people consented to lend it to him, and he took it home. Later we found that he had sat up all night reading its 360 pages. The next morning the attorney telephoned our daughter and invited her and the young man to his home for dinner. Our daughter, being timid, declined the invitation to dinner, but said that they would gladly go over after Dr. Cooper's evening class. The attorney was so fascinated with the book that he said he would surely like to meet the author. When he learned that Maurine's father was the author and that he was at that very time staying on Mount Carmel, he said, "I must see your father. I will go at seven in the morning, or at eight, nine tenany hour of the day! Please, may I see your father?"
Maurine told him that her father, being a professor and teaching classes several hours each day was very busy. "But," she promised, "I'll ask him to come to see you on Friday evening, after his eight o'clock class." Friday evening came; and it was with the keenest anticipation that Dr. Cooper and I set out to call on this interesting family. While my husband answered questions and explained many Biblical doctrines to the attorney, I talked to his wife, her charming mother, and her illustrious father. The latter was such a dignified old gentleman that only the term lordly could describe him. Later we found out that he was a baron. He had brought with him from Munich, Germany, a Martin Luther translation of the Bible which he treasured. He showed us pictures of a large and fine synagogue which he had built in Munich and which the Gestapo had burned down. He told us that as he stood, with grief-laden heart, watching it burn, he was arrested and taken to prison. He was imprisoned for no greater offense than that of being a Jew who was standing and watching the destruction of the synagogue. The baron had been out of prison and in the Holy Land only six weeks when we met him. This fine family was just one of the thousands who suffered under the cruel, ruthless, murderous regime of the Nazis. One might think that they would have been bitter toward the Germans, but they were not. Their lovely faces bore the marks of grief and suffering, but no bitterness, and they were not at all prejudiced.
On the following Sunday afternoon they came to the German Mission to return our call. And that afternoon the baron said to me, "It is most important for Sir Montefiore of London to be in touch with a man like Dr. Cooper." He expressed a desire to make an appointment for my husband to meet and have an interview with Sir Montagu when we should arrive in London. He was quite sure that he could arrange the appointment, as he knew Sir Montagu, having been a guest in his home when he was a delegate to a congress in London. Sir Montagu's father Lord Montefiore, had financed the first settlement in Palestine, located just outside Jerusalem in the Hinnom Valley and named the Montefiore Settlement, and the baron thought that Sir Montagu might receive benefit from Dr. Cooper's years of scholarship and research.
When we arrived in London, however, it was at Whitsuntide and we were disappointed to learn that Sir Montagu was out of the city.
We rejoice that, through God's providential leadings, we were able to give many of the books we had with us for our use in the classroom to some of the outstanding Jewish leaders at that time, and also to some of the choicest, most cultured laymen in Israel. We believe that, through the studying of Dr. Cooper's books, in conjunction with the Hebrew Bible, many of the Jews to whom we gave the books will have the truth revealed to them. The Lord works in marvelous and mysterious ways. He will get the truth to the hungry-hearted seekers in some way. Our business is to sow the seed. What if we do not see much fruit? We are commanded,
"Go on sowing!
Though yet no life appears,
The seed is incorruptible;
"Tis working through the years.
Go on sowing!
Thou mayest not reaper be,
Yet with the reaper shall rejoice
We do know, however, that there will be a harvest! "For as the rain cometh down and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud and giveth seed to the sower and bread to the eater," said Jehovah, "so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it" (Isa. 55:10,11).
And truly, "... he that supplieth seed to the sower and bread for food, shall supply and multiply your seed for sowing, and increase the fruits of your righteousness" (II Cor. 9:10).
How we praise and thank God for calling us into this wonderful ministry, and how we pray that He may keep us faithful, ever on the alert to broadcast the seed of the Word of God in every possible field. "He harvests big who sows big!"
Pray for the salvation of not only those who were given the books during our stay in the Holy Land, but also for every one into whose hands has fallen a copy or any piece of the Society's literature proclaiming the Word of God.